Toradora!

Toradora!

Toradora! anime series cover art
Toradora!

Series Overview

Toradora! (とらドラ!) is one of the most iconic romantic comedy anime out there. Even if you haven’t seen the series yourself, chances are that you’re still aware of it. Its 25 episodes aired from 2008 to 2009, so it’s been around for a while now.

To start off this review, let’s take a look at the title: Toradora! The title comes from the names of the two protagonists, Taiga and Ryuuji. The characters’ names and the way they’re written in the title are flipped (Japanese/English).

Tora (虎) is the Japanese word for tiger, while Taiga is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word. And Ryuu (竜) is the Japanese word for dragon, while Dora is the Japanese pronunciation of the start of the English word.

Moving on to the plot, Taiga and Ryuuji find themselves working together in an attempt to set each other up with their respective crushes. Taiga loves Ryuuji’s friend Kitamura, and Ryuuji loves Taiga’s friend Minori. But, as you can probably figure out, they end up falling for each other instead.

Overall, Toradora! is a very generic rom-com in that it doesn’t shift away from the mold at all. Everything that you expect a rom-com to have, Toradora! has. But, that’s not a bad thing because it does most of those things better than a lot of more modern anime in the genre.

For example, I think the supporting cast of this series (the characters outside of the main five) is a lot better than in newer anime like Horimiya. Part of that is because Toradora! is two cours instead of one, and part of it is because the supporting characters aren’t forced to have a dedicated episode or arc.

They simply exist in the world as characters who aren’t the focus, but who still have their own unique personalities.

Main Characters

Ryuuji Takasu is the male protagonist of the series. He lives with his mother, Yasuko, and their pet bird, Inko. Ryuuji does all of the cooking and cleaning, which also happens to be 99% of his personality. I don’t think he’s all that interesting.

Next door to Ryuuji lives Taiga Aisaka, also known as the Palm-Top Tiger due to both her size and name. Taiga lives alone in an apartment, being estranged from both of her parents who are divorced. Her personality revolves around her explosive temper.

While I said that Ryuuj isn’t very interesting, he’s still probably the best male character in the series. The only other real contender would be his best friend Yuusaku Kitamura. However, Kitamura is pretty boring as well, simply being a quirky student council vice president.

Ami Kawashima from the anime series Toradora!
Ami Kawashima

Minori Kushieda is my least favorite of the main characters. She’s the obligatory sporty girl who’s also a simpleton. This has never been one of my favorite character tropes. And on top of that, she goes through a whole depression phase that I didn’t find particularly well done.

Now, I’ve saved the best for last, because Ami Kawashima is definitely the best girl of the series. She’s a teen model who fakes her personality. That doesn’t make her sound good, but over the course of the series, I’d say that she’s the one who develops the most.

Of course, there are also good supporting characters as well. My particular favorites are Yasuko (Ryuuji’s mom), Yuri “Yuri-chan-sensei” Koigakubo (the teacher), and Sumire Kanou (the student council president.

In fact, one of my favorite scenes involved Yuri being called a “single thirty-something” by one of her students in response to them being told that the class trip was being changed.

Episodes 24 & 25

Generally speaking, I think Toradora! is a good anime. But I also kind of wish we could all collectively forget that the final two episodes of the series happened. Episodes 24 and 25 represent a very sharp break from the previous 23 episodes.

Obviously, I’m going to spoil the end of the series now. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip down to the conclusion.

The choice Ryuuji and Taiga make at the end of the series comes out of nowhere. Was the series leading up to them dating? Yes. Was the series leading up to them running away and getting married while still in high school because they don’t want to fill out a piece of paper about their futures? No.

Ryuuji doesn’t want to go to college because his family is poor and he doesn’t want his mom overworking herself to pay for it. He would go if he could also help pay for it, but she wants him to focus on studying, not working. And so, he runs away.

Taiga Aisaka from the anime series Toradora!
Taiga Aisaka

Meanwhile, Taiga runs away just because filling out a piece of paper is too much work. I don’t think Ryuuji really has a reason to run away. But Taiga literally has no reason for doing so. She just doesn’t want to fill out the paper that says if she plans to go to college or not.

And on top of all that, why do they need to get married when they run away? I’m pretty sure that doesn’t solve anything. Like, I get it if they want to get married because they love each other. But it really seemed like they thought getting married would save them from something.

Oh, and then they don’t end up getting married, Taiga moves away, and everything goes back to normal. What was the point of those two episodes?

Conclusion

I’m going to give Toradora! a 7/10 despite the fact that I don’t think the ending was good. And even if we pretend that the ending never happened, it would still be a 7/10 — just a higher 7/10. It’s not as if the ending ruined the series.

As for the OPs and EDs, they’re all good. But if you want to know my favorites, they’re OP 1 and ED 1. The second OP has some better animation, but I like the song and visual style of OP 1 more. And I like the song of ED 1 way more than ED 2. It reminds me of the Tamako Market ED.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and Key Mochi~ for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika and Senpai tiers respectively, and the former for recommending I watch Toradora! To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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